We recommend an accredited homeschool program!
An accredited homeschool program has several benefits. You will know the accredited homeschool has been thoroughly audited to surpass minimum requirements as a school or program. Accreditation requires a curriculum audit to check for educational standards. It looks for how the curriculum reviews past concepts and prepares for future concepts. Many parents do not have the time to check for these hidden curriculum essentials year after year. Accredited schools or programs must submit any changes to the accrediting organization for evaluation before implementation.
Homeschool programs with more than one accreditation have an added value. Some homeschooling options have an accreditation from an organization recognized by a state’s Dept. of Education, plus an additional accreditation. The additional accreditation might also evaluate a particular emphasis such as Christian education. One accreditation may be similar to what public schools use. A second accreditation may evaluate additional Christian or private school values the first accrediting organization does not evaluate. See Accredited Christian Schools for more information about specific accreditations.
Is An Accreditated Homeschool Necessary?
Technically, the Federal Dept. of Education does not require K-12 to have accreditation, but is beneficial in many locations. In some regions or districts, high school credit may not transfer to public schools unless the student earns the credit under a state or district recognized accreditation. It is our opinion that credit under an accredited school will raise less red flags in annual registration in tougher districts or states. Even if you do not plan on moving or transferring to a different school, an accredited homeschool program may give some flexibility.
Generally, accredited homeschool programs have a school number used for college entrance, military, or FAFSA (financial aid). This can save a homeschool parent or student considerable time.
Accredited homeschool programs, especially ones with multiple accreditations, have some additional expenses to acquire and maintain accreditation. We believe the additional tuition cost is worth it. Some regionally accredited homeschool programs may only be accredited for some grade levels, but allude to being accredited for all grade levels. Keep these things in mind when deciding between accredited homeschool program options!
Tips On Choosing An Accredited Program
We recommend that parents should review “Ten points to review before choosing a homeschool program”. When deciding on an accredited homeschool program, remember that lower tuition does not equate to the best value and formula for success! Always compare benefits and features to tuition cost. For example, two dollars per day difference could mean a couple hours extra work for the parent. Sometimes a little extra cost is the most efficient for the family. See Practical Homeschooling. Also look for a structure that prevents tempting the student with short cuts! You do not want your hard work and finance to go to waste due to shortcuts in procedures.
Overall, look for an accredited homeschool program that has been in existence for at least 13 years, so it is not still an experiment. Decide if you want the curriculum to include a Christian worldview for building character and family values. Some students might better transition to online by first using a combination of paper-based and online. Some families need more teacher support than others. Look for a choice that offers in-home annual achievement testing, so you can monitor academic growth and meet requirements in some states. In-home testing can take the anxiety out of testing compared to an unfamiliar testing environment. Most importantly, look for an individualized curriculum structure that is mastery-based. See Individualized Curriculum.
Free Online Trial From An Accredited Homeschool
For 3rd-8th graders, you may want to try an online school for free for one or more weeks to really see if online schooling is for your family. You probably don’t want to commit to a year’s enrollment only to find out in the first month that it just won’t work for your situation. An online school, especially an accredited homeschool program, can offer many attractive benefits, but it really comes down to “will it work for you?”
The reason a demo doesn’t give you enough of an idea is that you need to use a program long enough to get past the initial orientation of how everything works. You want to use it long enough to see what a real typical day will be. Normally, you will discover there is less parent work once you get settled, and the student will become more independent. Still, you need to evaluate if that is workable in your unique situation. Currently Southeast Academy is offering a free trial (with no credit card required) to see if online schooling will work for your 3rd-8th grader. Here’s your chance to find out! Try it for a week or more. Even if you end up not using an online school, it will help the student get back into school mode especially if they missed the end of this last school year!
Some typical parent responsibilities with an online school.
Normally after the first 2-3 days of the free trial, the parent will mainly need to do the following:
- get the student up and at the computer each day
- check on the student periodically
- be close enough in case the student has a question
- check to see if the day’s work was completed
- check any work the system cannot autoscore (this is less than 10% of questions)
- praise for progress and any scores
Other helpful pages:
Something to consider about free or low-cost homeschool options. Freehomeschooling.net
How can I afford homeschooling costs? I’ve heard it is expensive.
Why homeschooling makes sense. Homeschool Efficiency
How and why to homeschool. How to Homeschool